Pure In Heart

Dear Brethren,

We have come to the first day of the sacred year – March 24th. Passover falls on April 6th this year. Passover and the Foot-washing are observed on the previous evening, Thursday, April 5th, just after sunset. The Night to be Much Remembered is observed on the evening of Friday, April 6th. The First Day of Unleavened Bread is Saturday, April 7th. We are less than two weeks away from Passover.

As we prepare for Passover and Unleavened Bread, we put leavened bread and leavened products out of our homes as Israel of old did. As New Testament Christians, we apply the spiritual lesson by also putting sin out of our lives. We are told to examine ourselves. "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." (1 Corinthians 11:28) It is appropriate that we examine ourselves throughout the year, but especially, as Passover approaches.

But, the question is: How do we honestly and thoroughly examine ourselves? We tend to examine ourselves on the points that we excel in. “Do I keep the Sabbath?” Check! “Do I fight and kill?” Of course not! “Have I robbed any banks?” None that I can remember! “I’m scoring 100% on my self-examination."

But Jesus says we need to take a closer look. “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2-3, Romans 3:12) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

We do not readily admit that those Scriptures apply to us – do we? We prefer to think of ourselves as doing pretty well – and not being deceitful, and especially not desperately wicked – right? We lie, exaggerate, and fool ourselves – how can our hearts ever be pure? How can we have a pure heart before God?

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

It should be obvious by now that we need God’s help and intervention to be able to obtain a pure heart. King David realized it, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2)

As we come into the Passover season, we must discover and remember our own sins and shortcomings and our deep, personal need for Christ's sacrifice. We examine ourselves and know that somehow God will forgive us one more time. Sometimes the road has been a lonely one, and we find ourselves just a little weary from the journey. We reflect often on the times we did not get it right, on the mistakes we made, the many times we fell short.

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5) Brethren, we need to de-leaven ourselves as much or more than we do our homes as Passover approaches.

"Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Corinthians 11:28-29)


Sermon:  "Pure In Heart"
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